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Southern redbelly dace

Southern redbelly dace

Characteristics

one of the most strikingly beautiful fishes in Iowa. Cream colored lateral band is layered between dark bands on the sides, top dark band starts at the edge of the gill cover and turns into a series of spots at the base of the tail, lower band encircles the snout and ends in the tail, black dots appear along the back before the dorsal fin and the mid-dorsal sripe may also appear as a series of dots, scales are minute

Distribution

Southern redbelly dace Distribution

distributed throughout the upper portions of the Winnebago, Shellrock, Wapsipinicon, Turkey, Maquoketa, and Misssissippi rivers in northeast Iowa and scattered populations exist in northwest, central, and east-central streams

Foods

plant material and detritus

State Record

3 inches

Expert Tip

Details

The southern redbelly dace is distributed throughout the upper portions of the Winnebego, Shellrock, Wapsipinicon, Turkey, Maquoketa, and Mississippi rivers in northeast Iowa, and scattered populations exist in northwest, central and east-central streams. It is common to abundant where suitable habitat exists.

The southern redbelly dace is one of the most strikingly beautiful fish in the Iowa fauna. Its body is elongate and almost cylindrical. There are two distinguishing characteristics which set it apart from the other minnows. The scales are minute, almost requiring magnification to be seen. The coloration is unique. A cream-colored lateral band is layered between dark bands on the sides. The top dark band starts at the edge of the opercle and turns into a series of spots on the caudal peduncle. The lower band encircles the snout and ends in the basicaudal rays of the tail. Black dots appear along the back before the dorsal fin, and the mid-dorsal stripe may also appear as a series of dots. Males exhibit carmine splotches on the chest, chin, belly, and on the base of the dorsal fin, and their fins are bright yellow. Females vary from plain to washed with pink. The snout is blunt with a terminal mouth, in which the upper jaw slightly protrudes past the lower jaw. Presence of a barbel is unusual, but at least one population has been found which has barbels on each side of the jaw. There are from 65 to 90 scales along the incomplete lateral line. The pharyngeal formula is 5, 5, and the teeth are slender with slight hooks, and occasionally a pattern of 5, 4 may be present. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins contain 8 rays, and the pectorals have 14 or 15. The intestine is long, consisting of two coils and a loop with a black peritoneum.

The southern redbelly dace inhabits the clean, cool headwaters of small streams. It is a secretive fish seeking escape cover under overhanging banks or other structures. This fish is closely associated with permanent spring flows, which also provide micro-habitat for the scattered populations away from northeast Iowa.

Spawning of southern redbelly dace occurs from May through July over silt-free, gravel bottomed riffles. The nests of other stream minnows may be utilized for egg deposition. Spawning takes place in schools with 2 males usually accompanying a female. Fecundity varies from 200 to over 6,000 eggs. This fish is primarily a vegetarian feeding on plant material and bottom slime. Adults may reach 3 inches in length. These minnows are difficult to keep in an aquarium, but the effort is rewarded by the dazzling color display.

The southern redbelly dace was originally listed in the genus Chrosomus, but it is currently in the genus Phoxinus, which links the native genus to the old world genus of the same name.


Return

Present in these Iowa water bodies:

Lake/Stream County Location Acres/Length
Paint Creek Allamakee Located in Yellow River State Forest, 3 miles west of Harpers Ferry off of State Forest Road or CR B25. 11.00
Maquoketa River (trout portion) Clayton The Upper Maquoketa River from Joy Springs downstream to Backbone Lake contains trout year-round. The area 3 miles southwest of Strawberry Point off 400th is stocked with catchable fish. 8.00
Bloody Run Creek Clayton Located 2 miles west of Marquette off of Highway 18. 6.50
Otter Creek Fayette Located 3 miles southeast of West Union. 2.50
Wapsi River Trout Section Mitchell Located 0.5 mile west of McIntire. 2.50
Upper Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque near Swiss Valley Nature Center, just off Swiss Valley Road 2.10
Brush Creek Jackson Located 2 miles norteast of Andrew just south of 261st street. 1.90
White Pine Hollow Dubuque This fishery is located primarily within White Pine Hollow State preserve, about 2 miles northwest of Luxemburg. Access to this fishery is difficult. A small parking area is available on the east side of the preserve. Best fishing is on the west side. 1.80
Richmond Springs Delaware 3 miles south of Strawberry Point. Located entirely within Backbone State Park. Closest to north park gate access. 1.40
Hewett and Ensign Creeks (Ensign Hollow) Clayton Located on Ensign Hollow Wildlife Management Area about 5 miles north of Strawberry Point. Access is provided on the north side of 322nd street. 1.30
Little Turkey River Delaware 3 miles east of Colesburg in Hoffman Wildlife Managment Area off Hubbard Road 1.20
Tete des Morts River Jackson Located near St. Donatus. T87N, R3E, S4 1.10
Twin Bridges Delaware Just south of Highway 3 about 5.5 miles west of Colesburg in Twin Bridges County Park 0.90
Lower Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque in Swiss Valley Park just off Swiss Valley Road 0.80
Joy Springs Clayton South on Alpha Ave, off Highway 3 about 3 miles west of Strawberry Point in Joy Springs County Park. 0.80
Miners Creek Clayton Stream is located west of Guttenberg. T92N, R2W, S7, 18 and T29N, R3W, S12 0.80
Baileys Ford Delaware 3 miles southeast of Manchester - follow signage from Jefferson Road. 0.60
tributaries to Tete des Morts River Jackson Located near St. Donatus. T87N, R3E, S16, 17, 23 0.60
Bigalk Creek Howard Located 7 miles northeast of Cresco. 0.60
Mossy Glen Clayton 5 miles northwest of Edgewood at the termination of the Level B portion of Eagle Ave. Road damage from weather has made access to this site difficult for all vehicles. Not recommended for low-clearance or 2-wheel drives. 0.50
South Cedar Creek Clayton Located 2 miles south of Garnavillo and may be accessed from Jigsaw Road. 0.50
Bohemian Creek Winneshiek Located about 1.5 miles east of Protivin. 0.30
Monastery Creek Dubuque Monastery Creek can be accessed through the Dubuque County Swiss Valley Nature Preserve about 4 miles SW of Dubuque off of Swiss Valley Rd. 0.20

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